Consultation is usually free of charge, or subject to a visitor's registration also usually free. Selection of a miniphoto leads to the corresponding profile showing larger photos and more detailed information. Photos are often retouched or from an earlier age, to make subjects more appealing.
These sites are usually in English, but some are multi-lingual (German, French, Spanish, Italian) thus confirming Russian womens' interest in meeting foreigners.
Site sizes vary from a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 80,000 profiles, averaging about 3,000 profiles per site.
Some sites are organised as a collective, cooperating entity. For example, the Hanuma group includes: Army Of Brides, One In A Million, A Pretty, All Pretties, Brides In Bikini, 1 Love For You, 1st Russian Bride, Best Russian Bride, Your Brides, A Bride From Ukraine, A Bride From Russia, Your Bride Ru, Sexy Ukraine Russian Women, Amazing Women, Candy Brides, Lucky Dating, Babes Fo Macho, My Bride Ru, Best Bride Ru, Beauty Brides, Tornado Of Love, Tsunami Of Love, Order Brides, E Mail Order Brides, Letter Order Brides, Russian Brides, Ukraine Brides, City Meeting, Meet Me Free, Single Men ?lub, Single Brides, Single Pretties.
Many sites, like Anastasia Date, rely on local 'feeder' agencies to acquire new profiles, then shared with any other sister sites - some local agencies entice the active cooperation of girls with offers of free professional photo sessions, and paid jobs as fake letter writers and chatters.
The sites I visited up to 2006 (see list on another page) contained a total of more than 1,200,000 profiles, i.e. about 1% of the entire Russian female population - the nation with the highest percentage of profiles is now Ukraine.
Adding a profile can be free or for a charge, and is done:
- Male profile : directly on-line
- Female profile : directly on-line, or more often through marriage agencies connected to the sites
Profile information can be very detailed. Profiles and photos are often subject to inspection by site masters before publication. E-mail addresses usually cannot be seen, to prevent direct contacts and loss of revenue.
An FSU woman often has several profiles on different sites to improve her exposure : I noted that 40% of them had on average 3.8 profiles (one case has 35 profiles on 30 different sites). Although multiple exposure should improve their mating opportunities, over the years I have seen profiles of the same women appearing with gradually increasing ages, meaning that they are either more discriminating or less lucky in their quest.
Contacting an FSU Woman
Once you have come across a really interesing profile, it is time to get in touch with your woman through one of the alternatives made available:
- E-mail address
- Postal address
- Fixed/mobile telephone number
Acquiring this information is normally subject to some form of payment:
- Fixed amount per single address
- Increasing amount for multiple addresses
- Membership for a fixed period of time (often automatically renewed)
Payment is usually via credit card through an independent operator for transaction security.
Some paying sites may offer free of charge:
- The very first contact (as incentive to continue)
- A limited number of addresses ("desperate" cases of women with few or no contacts)
A first contact may evolve into a voluminous correspondence and later a direct meeting, usually in Russia since their economic conditions seldom permit Russian women to travel abroad. In addition, travelling to EEC countries even as tourists is subject to complicated and costly visa procedures, basically aimed at ensuring that the traveller is self-supporting, intends to return to her home country and is not trying a sneaky immigration.
Many sites offer a free subscription to the distribution list of their regular update newsletters showing newly acquired profiles. These newsletters are sent to your indicated e-mail address and can be:
- Simple lists
- Albums of thumbnails
- Links to the corresponding website pages
In some cases a newsletter may include your personal matches, i.e. women's profiles satisfying supplied mating criteria.
Sources of Site Revenues
Creating and maintaining an Internet site is a costrly operation, therefore most sites rely on various schemes to gain revenue. They may charge to provide one or more of the following services:
- Accepting profiles
- Viewing profiles
- Viewing additional profile photos
- Providing contact information
- Forwarding inter-personal communications
- Translating inter-personal communications into/from Russian
- Reading inter-personal communications received
- Match-making proposals
- Organisation of visits/tours/miscellanous social events
- Showing advertising banners
Although site operators are always reassuring about their consciensciousness, some problems may occur:
- Spam: even if most sites state that they safeguard the privacy of their subscribers, after joining them one is often submerged by unwanted e-mails usually promoting:
- Revitalising/rejuvenating/virilising medications
- Adult/porn sites
- Scammers: some women use their foreign contacts to express very quickly their irresistible attraction and immediately thereafter their need for some financial support, using various justifications (paying for communications, visas, travel tickets, etc.), obviously vanishing into thin air once they have received some money.
- Part-time professionals: some women have explicit financial rather than romantic interests, on a part-time or semi-amateur basis. Certain sites provide specific sections for them or more or less explicit qualifying definitions such as Financial Help, Escort Services, Intimate/Physical, Adult.
- Full-time professionals: some sites unknowingly include women who are also offering professional sex services on other types of sites.
Case 3 is often evidenced by scantily-clad women's photos. A dating site with no profile-screening policy may invite visitors to report directly any suspicious profiles.
A new breed of part-time professionals has appeared recently: girls offering their company in exchange for a fully-paid vacation.
Case 4 is fortunately infrequent but difficult to spot unless also visiting professional sites and comparing the photos found there with those appearing on normal dating sites. A list of the cases I discovered is available on a separate page.